No matter how much hand sanitizer we use and bone broth we sip, at some point, it happens: Mom gets sick.
Unfortunately, enjoying a quiet, restful day in bed is not an option for most moms. So what’s a mom to do? Here are some tips to help you survive a mom sick day.
Call in the reinforcements
In some cases, the other parent may be able to stay home and help with the kids. But often this isn't a feasible option. “Don’t be too proud to call in reinforcements if necessary!” says Becky Baldridge. Ask friends and family to take the kids to school or help cook dinner. Most friends are willing to help, especially if you offer to return the favor in the future.
For a sick mom, feeding her family can be a huge challenge. Keep it simple by ordering take out, raiding the freezer or letting the kids eat cereal for dinner. “I’ve had my husband order, pay for and have pizza delivered from work because when I’m sick preparing meals is impossible. ” says Rodganna Avery, mom of three.
Let go of normal
Many families limit the amount of screen time their children are allowed each day, but when mom is sick it’s okay to relax the rules. “I let them watch TV all day and I lay on the couch and sleep. I feel better the next day because I get rest.” says LouAnn Cunningham. Allowing extra TV or video game time helps to entertain the kids so mom can rest. Mother of six Chrissy Roussel says, “When you are sick, just focus on making sure they’re fed and changed. Let go of the ‘normal’ parenting rules for a few days”. It won’t hurt the kids to have one or two days of extra screen time, and they will probably enjoy it as well.
Find more entertainment
What do you do when TV time gets old? Build a fort, get out craft supplies or play with blocks. “I have a secret stash of toys that I only bring out when I’m sick.” says Jessi Cole, mom of three “Since they are rarely out, my kids think it’s a huge treat.” Try having the kids read a book aloud or put on a puppet show for you while you rest. When mom is sick, anything goes; the goal is to keep the kids entertained, but as quiet as possible throughout the day.
The last tip is one you can do in advance. Before you get the first hint of a runny nose or sore throat, prepare for when you do. Set some special toys and movies aside for your sick day, keep easy to prepare snacks and freezer meals on hand, and teach your kids to prepare simple meals like sandwiches or cereal so they can help themselves when needed.
As moms, we do so much for our families and when we aren’t feeling well, a smoothly run household can spiral out of control fast. It’s okay to let the house go and rely on others for a few days. If mom has time to rest, she should be back to her old self in no time.
This story originally published in 2017 and was updated in January 2020.